The Weight We Carry: Put Down Your Baggage

As we celebrated the fourth of July this weekend, it seemed like independence was on everyone’s mind. And while America’s independence from its past is certainly paramount to the lives we lead, what does it mean to be independent of our own pasts and how do we get there?

All of us are born with baggage. We’re born with certain talents, particular family dynamics, unique personalities, specific socio-economic statuses and most definitely some shortcomings. We’re born into lives that expect things of us, into lives that place obstacles in our way. And while all of these circumstances help to shape our fate, fate is not destiny. We are equipped with the tools necessary to determine our own futures.

Too many of us, though, get caught up in this idea of baggage. We use it as an excuse. We claim to be unable to change because of these aforementioned circumstances. We say it’s “who we are.” We say it’s just the way it is. Well, to that I say, yes, we’re all born with baggage, but at some point you have the power to decide to keep on lugging it around or to put it down and walk away. At some point that baggage becomes your burden to bear – no longer because it was placed on you, but rather because you’ve failed to remove it.

Remove it. Put it down and walk away. You can be whoever you want to be. It’s all about choice.

Yes, there is comfort in the known. There is comfort in the path you’ve already traveled, the patterns you’ve already unraveled and the puzzles you’ve already solved. The weight of your past, be it from your family, your upbringing, your mishaps, your accomplishments, your relationships or anything else, can present itself in many ways. It can literally be seen in the extra weight your carry or it can be seen in the choices you make. It can be seen in the unnecessary risks you take or in your failure to take necessary risks. It can be seen in your relationships, careers and lifestyles. And, most problematically, it can be comforting.

But being comfortable is just that: comfortable. It is not electric. It is not passionate. It is not a life full of love, happiness and fulfillment.

For each of us our obstacles are different. But I can tell you this: defining your baggage means you can put it down. You can put it down and walk away. You can run away. And you never have to look back. You have the power to distance yourself from your circumstances, to determine your own destiny and to be whoever you want to be.

The first step in getting there, though, is in figuring out the contents of your baggage. Knowing what you’re carrying around allows you to release it. I’ve made the choice not to carry the baggage of past heartache around, not to allow my fear of professional or personal failure to prevent me from jumping in head-first. I looked into my baggage and I decided to put it down.

So, what’s the baggage you’re holding on to? And, starting today, can you take the steps necessary to start to untie it from your back, put it down and walk away? It may just be the best (and certainly most effective!) weight-loss plan you’ve ever embarked on!

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Alexis Wolfer is Editor-in-Chief of TheBeautyBean.com and a Real Beauty activist. Follow her on Twitter here.